Game: Stories: The Path of Destinies
Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4
Developer: Spearhead Games Rating: T for Teen
A game with a title as generic as Stories: The Path of Destinies usually connotes a lazy, derivative storybook tale of how destiny leads a chosen hero down a path leading to triumphant victory. I am glad to say that this game is nothing like that.
The story focuses on Reynardo, a dashing, rogue fox who happens to obtain a magic book that allows him to experience and retain memories of various timelines. The game’s narrative puts a heavy emphasis on choice. The game starts by allowing you to choose your storyline. You can start by: rescuing an old engineer friend from prison or you can obtain the components of a fabled super-weapon. As the game goes on, even more branching paths become available to pick culminating in one of the game’s many endings.
Throughout many of these endings, an immutable truth is dis-covered. Reynardo can use the in-formation gathered to make more informed decisions in future time-lines. It should take around forty-five minutes to unlock a single ending. However, with twenty-four unique endings to find and secrets that are hidden throughout the different levels of the game, it will take some time to complete.
The game contains dozens of “cutscenes” laid out in a beautiful, storybook aesthetic style which illustrates the ramifications of your various choices. The in-game grap-hics are vibrant and colorful enough to easily sell you on a concept, as bizarre as a steam-punk-fantasy world with anthro-pomorphic animals and super-weapons that have the potential to distort the space-time continuum.
Between all these choices lies the game’s exploration and combat. The inquiry starts off pretty limited due to alternate pathways that are blocked off by doors which can only be unlocked with specific swords that are crafted. Crafting materials for swords can be found in various chests strewn across the environments.
The swords come in a typical variety of fire, ice, wind, and healing to provide buffs in combat. The system is very simplistic with a single attack button, a hook, and a counter move being your primary means of fending off the game’s enemies. The game encourages speed through its score multiplier for continuous kills which is used to upgrade skills. The skill trees vary in usefulness because many of the upgrades are either situational or just completely useless. Overall, the combat does its job, despite gradually losing its luster on repeated playthroughs.
Repetition is a key aspect that this game has to offer. Unfortunately, the game lacks enough content to make the journey enjoyable throughout. The game only offers ravens to fight: small ravens, large ravens, spell-caster ravens, explosive ravens, shield ravens and healer ravens. They are introduced gradually over time, but by the fifth play-through you’ll have seen every type of raven and learned how to properly deal with them. The environments also suffer a bit from repetition, though not as severely. While new sections of the environment open up over time, it doesn’t help much when you have to revisit the place for the fifth time on an alternate pathway.
In regards to the game’s length, it varies from person to person. The choices I made led to completing the game in five hours, but for others it may take from three to eight hours. Unfortunately after achieving the game’s true ending, the other alternate endings aren’t as interesting to discover. The game’s story is satisfying and because of its simple combat sys-tem and repetitive environments. At a price of $15, Stories: The Path of Destinies is a charming, worth-while experience that should be enjoyed in short bursts.